Storytelling Ideas and Activities

Story Jar Instructions:

  1. Gather some friends.
  2. Gather one jar, acrylic paint, and one rock per friend.
  3. Paint a topic of your choice (e.g., dog, hairbrush, volcano, iguana, equator) on a rock. For example, if you choose a dog, paint a picture of a dog on the rock.
  4. Allow the rocks to dry. Then, place them in the jar.
  5. Have each friend pick a rock from the jar and make up a short story about the picture. You may choose to use a timer and give each storyteller a time limit or leave it open.

Musical Story Instructions

  1. Listen to a song in a language other than your own (e.g., French, Arabic, Spanish, English).
  2. Listen to the instruments, the tempo, the tone of voice, the mood of the song.
  3. Write a story about what you think the song is about.
    • You can also draw or paint a picture, and then write a story to accompany your picture.
  4. If possible, find someone in your community who speaks the language of the song and ask the person what the song is about. Compare your story with the original meaning of the song.

Flip the Story Instructions

  1. Pick a familiar story.
  2. Pick one of the supporting charters and invent a whole new story about the character.
  3. Make the main character from the familiar story the side character in the new story.
  4. Consider the following as you rewrite the story:
    • How might the story change now that the supporting character is the main character?
    • What might the supporting character do differently?
    • How will the main character behave as a supporting character?
    • How might the plot change now that the roles are flipped?
  5. Share your new story with others.

Shell Story Instructions

  1. Collect three different kinds of seashells.
  2. Give each seashell a fun or interesting name.
  3. Tell a short story about how each shell got its name.

(You can replace the shells with leaves, twigs, stones, etc.)

Backward Story Instructions

  1. Gather a group of friends for storytelling time.
  2. Pick one person to start the story. That person should begin by sharing the ending of their made-up story. Example: “And after Aziza and Lauren finished eating the cherries, they raced home on their bikes, giggling and grinning, for it had indeed been the best day of their lives.”
  3. The person who follows will add to the story by sharing what happened before Aziza and Lauren ate the basket of cherries.
  4. Carry on this way until you work your way all the way back to the beginning of the story.